Remembering how Ralph Northam remembered himself
Virginia governor Ralph Northam says one thing one day, another thing another day. He says he was in the racist photo – now he says he was not in the photo. The press is debating this while Northam has applied one of the greatest misdirections in the history of politics – though he is still not likely to survive.
The press and everyone else have taken their eye off the ball. While people are debating the yes or no of the picture, what is not debatable is the circumstances of the picture itself.
When I received my doctorate in optometry, I worked with the yearbook committee to design my own personal page – a commemoration, if you will, of my life up to that point. It was up to me to look exhaustively through all the pictures throughout my young life – both academic and family – and come up with something special that highlighted what I had accomplished and was thankful for, and perhaps to share some words about my future career and what it meant to me. I came up with a dedication to my late mother, including her picture and a picture of myself with my father and brother. I thanked my parents and told my brother I was joining him as another professional in the family. I had a quote from an introspective song about "being who you must, that's a part of the plan."
On the other hand, Governor Northam's page boasts, for time immemorial, a heinous racist picture of two people – one in blackface and another in a KKK uniform! Whether one was he or not, it was almost certainly he who chose to put this on his page.
While people are debating the identities in the picture, we must not lose sight of this point: it is overwhelmingly likely that this is how the governor described his most important achievement, up until then. It doesn't get more warped than that. 'Nuff said...the man has got to go.